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NBL dressed in Whites....

Sunday Feb 28, 2016
Kayak: Henry S, Mike M, Ryan M
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

Skiing is really stinky this year.  And that is after adjusting expectations many times over.  So when there is water in the river, the decision to head to the mountain or head to the river is just that much easier!!!!!


Henry picked up a new boat last week and is looking to jump back into the gene pool of boating after a couple year hiatus.  Good to have another boater on this side of the Greens with similar tastes in river.  I put out the call to arms to see whom would  be interested in getting on the classic NBL, even though it would be somewhat low.  We got the ever eager Mr Mainer to sign on.


We met at the take out to set shuttle.  Dang it was kind of cold out.  Montpelier was sporting close to 40 degrees and sunny.  It couldn't have been more than 25 up in Waterville.  No big deal, just needed to get a move on and start paddling to warm up.  The river was pretty low, but still seemed pretty fluid if you picked it apart.  We put in up off of Back Road at the covered bridge.  The initial few miles were pleasant and rather enjoyable...  Once in the gorge, the sun came out and the snowy caps on each of the rocks and boulders really added to the beauty of the first run down the gorge.  The level was about as low as I'd ever been on that run - but was good enough to make a fun run down through the gorge.  If you have not had a chance to run the NBL gorge, you should get out there and do it - it is very rhythmic and unlike many rivers in VT, there is always something going in to deal with.  Most rivers in VT are bedrock grade control and not boulder riffle.  Having a stretch of river in NVT that is boulder strewn is a nice change and it keeps you moving and maneuvering. 


At the take out Henry and I decided it was so good that we were going to hit up a 2nd lap.  Mainer needed to get back to Chittenden County (something about work).  So Mike was gracious enough to help run shuttle for us and dropped Henry and I at the School.  A nice hike across the field (was weird not to be punching post holes across the field..neither of us were complaining.  Once in the gorge it was evident that it the level had droped a couple of inches from our first lap.  It was definitely too low, but still manageable.  The sun was out in full force and the run was again beautiful...


We did a little eddy bobbing at the bottom to just float and enjoy the river...  Out of the river, I drained my old battle ship.  Not as much water had made it in as in run one, I was pretty happy about that and figured I had some sealing to do around the outfitting bolts.  Once the water was out of the drain bung, I kind of let the boat flop over...  It was cold but wasn't cold enough for what happened when my boat flopped.  Directly at the front of my seat a crack opened up transecting the entire bottom of my hull - HOLY SMOKES - the boat almost broke in half.  I've been told when the air is below 20 that the plastic gets pretty brittle, but this was nuts and it wasn't that cold.  Looks like it is back to the welder and some reinforcement on the inside.  Still not confident that it will hold.  Henry just chuckled and said good thing it is a beater boat....  He was right!


Pretty amazing how little snow pack there is for the 2016 spring run off.  Lets hope we see 10+" of rain in April..... on top of that 35-45" pf snow we should see in March.

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